I've used Dreamweaver (albeit CS3 so I am a few versions back), but I am disappointed with the amount of invalid markup it produces. Are there other WYSIWYG editors out there that produce valid markup?

  • 5
    REAL webmasters use notepad (or vi if you're on *nix)! ;) Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 20:09
  • Dreamweaver produces valid markup if you have it properly configured. It is the best desktop WYSIWYG tool in my opinion.
    – jessegavin
    Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 20:22
  • @justin obligatory XKCD link: xkcd.com/378
    – Jason
    Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 21:03
  • @Justin Scott: you compare notepad and vi?? real webmasters use 'ed' on *nix.
    – akira
    Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 4:30

5 Answers 5


If you want control over your code use the code view in Dreamweaver or just a plain text editor like Notepad++ on Windows, Textmate on Mac or Vim on *nix. The problem with WYSIWYG is that you don't have full control over the code you produce, allthough you are free too clean up afterwards offcourse.


Coda from the guys at Panic is a really nice Mac product. You write the markup yourself and therefore retain complete control as you would with TextMate, Notepad2, etc. But there is also a live preview you can see in a split screen so you can tell immediately what affect you are having on the page. It's a nice "best of both worlds" solution.


A related question here: HTML validation: is it worth it?. I bring this up since you mentioned you're upset with the invalid markup. Markup semantics are more important than markup validity in my opinion, and generally this can only be done properly by a human – especially with all the new elements presented by HTML5.

Jeffery Zeldman recently posted an article about this very subject: An InDesign for HTML and CSS. Inspired by talk from certain people at Adobe, he posits that no WYSIWYG editor can create meaningful and semantic markup anymore than a computer program can compose meaningful and emotional music.

If you choose to stick with Dreamweaver and use its code view (which is what I used for quite a while, it's very good) you should consider upgrading to CS5. Adobe, given all the Flash hate, has gone to great lengths to improve the quality of the code that it generates. They have also created the HTML5 Pack.

This extension provides initial support for HTML5 and CSS3 in Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, and helps you easily create HTML5 pages and CSS3 styles. It also includes updates and WebKit improvements for Design View and Live View rendering.

While HTML5 and CSS3 will not be finalized for some time, the extension provides support for a set of currently-implemented features.

This extension enhances Dreamweaver CS5 in the following ways:

  • Introduces the Multiscreen Preview panel , allowing for Live View display on 3 different screen sizes, with Media Query support. (Window > Multiscreen Preview)
  • Adds code hinting for the HTML5 Tag Library with new tags, attributes, and properties.
  • Updates code hinting for new attributes and values in existing HTML tags.
  • Adds code hinting for the following CSS3 specifications: 2D/3D Transformations; Animations; Background and Border; Basic User Interface; Line Layout; Marquee; Media Queries; MultiColumn; Ruby; Text; and Transitions.
  • Updates Live View to support <video> and <audio>. (Requires Quicktime installation.)
  • Improved rendering for CSS3 in Live View.
  • Adds HTML5 starter layouts to the New Document Dialog box.
  • Offers better rendering for new tags in Design View.

Dreamweaver has been around much longer than most of its competitors, and is a solid program, and if you choose to stick with using the WYSIWYG editor you won't get much better out of any other apps.


I've used by jEdit and Eclipse because they worked into the rest of my development workflow well. jEdit's syntax highlighting, and ability to recognize a wide variety of text formats is very nice for quick review the strange things I tend have come my way.

I agree with others who have mentioned avoiding WYSIWYG editors. DW's latest versions do generate acceptable code most of the time, but when I use it I spend 95% of my time in the code view anyway.


I use Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2010 Express (free, including for commercial use) :)